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LONGLISTED FOR THE 2022 BOOKER PRIZE
'A poetic patchwork of fragments of literary history that together take shape as an intergenerational tale of the Lesbian family. An ancestry eruditely, playfully recovered' BOOKER PRIZE JUDGES
‘Splendid!’ Lucy Ellmann, author of Ducks, Newburyport
An exhilarating debut from a radiant new voice, After Sappho reimagines the intertwined lives of feminists at the turn of the twentieth century.
It’s 1895. Amid laundry and bruises, Rina Pierangeli Faccio gives birth to the child of the man who raped her – and who she has also been forced to marry. Unbroken, she determines to change her name; and her life, alongside it.
1902. Romaine Brooks sails for Capri. She has barely enough money for the ferry, nothing for lunch; her paintbrushes are bald and clotted... But she is sure she can sell a painting – and is fervent in her belief that the island is detached from all fates she has previously suffered.
... In 1923, Virginia Woolf writes: I want to make life fuller – and fuller.
Sarah Bernhardt – Colette – Eleanora Duse – Lina Poletti – Josephine Baker – Virginia Woolf... these are just a few of the women sharing the pages of a book as fierce as it is luminous. Lush and poetic; furious and funny; in After Sappho, Selby Wynn Schwartz has created a novel that celebrates the women and trailblazers of the past – their constant efforts to push against the boundaries of what it means, and can mean, to be a woman – that also offers hope for our present, and our futures.
Selby Wynn Schwartz holds a PhD in comparative literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of The Bodies of Others: Drag Dances and Their Afterlives, a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, and the forthcoming novella A Life in Chameleons.